Similar Gods

Further support for the antiquity of the Perun-like deity in Eastern Europe comes from Mordvinian mythology. In pre-Christian times, Mordvins, an Ugro-Finian people of middle Volga basin, worshiped a thunder god called Purginepaz. This appears to be a borrowing from the Indo-European mythology. However, it was not borrowed from the Slavs, as their Eastern branch did not penetrate the middle Volga in pre-Christian times. While at the same time the root "Purg" in Purginepaz suggests some relation to the Baltic "Perk" in Perkunas. A possible explanation is that Mordvins borrowed the concept and the god's name from the Fatyanovo culture of the second half of second millennium B.C.E. The Fatyanovo culture emerged in the Eastern Baltic area and spread along Volga and Oka as far as Ural mountains. Physical anthropology and strong cultural affilitiation of Fatyanovo complex with Kurgan and later Baltic cultures, indicates that they were Indo-European people. They were not Balts and probably not Balto-Slavic people either, but rather culturally and linguisticaly ancestral to both. Whatever the case, this shows that the concept of a Perun-like deity was common amongst the Old European population of Eastern Europe in the middle of the second millennium B.C.E. And this in turn clearly indicates continuity of this common Indo-European concept.

In Hinduism there was a weather god, Parjanya (which is the Vedic Sanskrit for "rain" or "raincloud"), whose domain was thunder storms and monsoons. This deity, who also makes things grow, like Perun, is associated with cattle. Parjanya is often identified with Indra, the "Bull" of the Rigveda, but also associated with Varuna as a deity of clouds and as punishing sinners. And among the Balts, a thunder god Perkunas was one of the major deities. There is close conceptual relationship between the foregoing and thunder-associated gods of other Indo-European people, such as: Celtic Taranis; Greek Zeus and Germanic Thor/Donar. Independent developments separated Indo-European beliefs but a certain common concept were preserved. For example, in Germanic mythology the goddess Fj?rgynn is the mother of the thunder god Thor. Taking into consideration that in Germanic languages the original Indo-European "p" changed into "f", her name appears related to the stem "perg". In Hittite mythology the stone monster Ullikummi, who fights the weather god Te?ub, is a son of the major god Kumarbi and a rock, a goddess called Peruna? or Piruna?. Unfortunately, Hittite mythology is so mixed up with Semitic and non-Indo-European beliefs that the similarity of name with Parjanya or Perun may be only a coincidence. On the other hand it may reflect a common Indo-European tradition shared with the Germanic people.

Two hymns of the the Rigveda, 5.63 and 7.101, are dedicated to Parjanya.

He is one of the 12 Adityas, a Gandharva and a Rishi in the Harivamsa. The name may be cognate with Lithuanian Perk?nas "god of thunder", Gothic fairguni "mountain", see Perkwunos..

RV 5.63 in the translation of Griffith:

Sing with these songs thy welcome to the Mighty, with adoration praise and call Parjanya.
The Bull, loud roaring, swift to send his bounty, lays in the plants the seed for germination.

He smites the trees apart, he slays the demons: all life fears him who wields the mighty weapon.
From him exceeding strong flees e'en the guiltless, when thundering Parjanya smites the wicked.

Like a car-driver whipping on his horses, he makes the messengers of rain spring forward.
Far off resounds the roaring of the lion, what time Parjanya fills the sky with rain-cloud.

Forth burst the winds, down come the lightning-flashes: the plants shoot up, the realm of light is streaming.
Food springs abundant for all living creatures, what time Parjanya quickens earth with moisture.

Thou at whose bidding earth bows low before thee, at whose command hoofed cattle fly in terror,
At whose behest the plants assume all colours, even thou Parjanya, yield us great protection.

Send down for us the rain of heaven, ye Maruts, and let the Stallion's flood descend in torrents.
Come hither with this thunder while thou pourest the waters down, our heavenly Lord and Father.

Thunder and roar: the germ of life deposit. Fly round us on thy chariot waterladen.
Thine opened water-skin draw with thee downward, and let the hollows and the heights be level.

Lift up the mighty vessel, pour down water, and let the liberated streams rush forward.
Saturate both the earth and heaven with fatness, and for the cows let there be drink abundant.

When thou, with thunder and with roar, Parjanya, smitest sinners down,
This universe exults thereat, yea, all that is upon the earth.

Thou hast poured down the rain-flood now withhold it. Thou hast made desert places fit for travel.
Thou hast made herbs to grow for our enjoyment: yea, thou hast won thee praise from living creatures.